Excellent for boosting the immune system and had been proved to shorten the duration of colds and flus. I collect Echinacea all summer from the gardens of friends and family and hang dry them until I am ready to grind up to turn into tincture in the Autumn. I have found smaller flowers are easier to work with. You can also use the root but that entails digging up the flower.
I first learned how to make my own tincture from a class at the library with Jen from My Healthy Homemade Life.
1/2 c (40g) dried echinacea root
1/2 c (40g) dried whole echinacea flowers or leaves
1 1/2 c (360ml) neutral spirits such as vodka or apple cider vinegar
You can find already dried and ground roots and flowers in the bulk section of your local health food store or I always suggest Starwest Botanicals
If you are using your own dried plants once the plant is fully dried I remove the flower tops and leaves from the stem. I then use scissors and cut up the stems into smaller pieces. Using a coffee grinder I add flower, leaves, and a few stems and grind up into small bits and pieces. It may take a few times to get the hang of the right ratio of stems to flowers/leaves in order to get a fine grind. Much like the magic ration of liquid to solids in a blender!
Combine the echinacea root, flowers and spirits in a pint size jar (canning jars work great!) Cover the jar with a lid and shake well to mix. Put jar in a cool and dark place to infuse for 4-6 weeks shaking jar occasionally to mix up the tincture. When ready to use, strain out the herbs using a fine-mesh sieve. Store tincture in small bottles with droppers for easy use.
Take 1 teaspoon 2-3 times per day at the first sign of a cold or flu for the most benefit.